ALEX GERSON

Interview by Lerenzo Tolbert-Malcom

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LeRenzo Tolbert-Malcom: What is the theme of the project? Are there any premises that should be understood in order to understand the project, or does it stand alone? 

Alex Gerson: The theme of my project was an attempt to break from the traditionally confined nature of photographs and allow the viewer to play a more substantial role in the whole process by leaving matters of space and time up for interpretation. Each one of my “pieces” is made up of two or three individual shots and each shot depicts a different perspective and moment in time. I chose to do this because I was frustrated by the apparent arbitrary nature of a final frame. Why that exact viewpoint? Why that exact moment?

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By splitting each “whole” image into parts, I tried to bring the photographs closer to what we all experience in our own visceral realities while at the same time maintaining that sense of impossibility that makes the medium of photography so unique. I also tried to support this nature in the physical layout of the images. Since our brains use visual cues to “fill-in” the gaps left by our field of vision, I intended for each photo to have a specific physical location once it’s finally hung up. I hoped that the gaps between pictures can be “filled” in by the viewer thereby bringing him into the overall experience. 

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LT-M: It’s interesting that you have seemingly unrelated photos of architecture side-by-side with the photos of Jin. What is the significance of mixing the two subjects? Is there a common theme to both of them?

AG: Yes, they are pretty different. At the beginning of my project I focused more on static objects, but I later choose to focus on people since they add so much more to the final effect. The two pictures of architecture are actually two parts of a staircase in the Carpenter Center, and in space they lie right next to each other. Since they look so distant in print, I thought that it was a good example that highlighted the power of perspective in photography. Since the project is more dependent on a general theme, there’s really no significance behind the mixing of people and objects. 

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LT-M: I find the anonymity of the subject quite compelling in that there are multiple photos of the same person at the same location, but we can never see who it is. Is there are particular reason you chose to not identify the person by showing his face in the photo? 

AG: I actually have a picture of his face that follows in the same tradition of time and perspective change, but decided not to include it in the final piece since I felt it would take away from the viewer’s experience. By getting closer and closer towards the face, I hoped that each individual viewer would add his or her unique perspective and “fill the gap” left by the blank space on the wall. 

LT-M:  Is there something specific about this person that you want to convey, or is this person a subject used to convey a more general theme?

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AG: Not really. He just happened to be around at the time and was a pretty good sport about letting me take his picture. Thanks Jin!

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